This summer I have been Training my donkey to pull a cart. Driving can be lots of fun for both the donkey (pony) or whatever and the person, AS LONG AS both are comfortable. Let me explain.
First I had to have a little work done on my cart. My seat was about 5 inches too high. That might not sound like a big deal, but when your bouncing down the road for a few miles it becomes a big deal. You have to have a comfortable place to sit. Now I’m making a lite weight roof to sit under for shade. That takes care of my comfort, but Doodles is just as important. My friend was very surprised when I just cut different harness pieces to make it fit the donkey. I want it to fit him perfect. I care more about him than I do about the harness. I will do whatever it takes to get a (custom) fit.
I have noticed that it’s better to have one harness per donkey, pony because it’s faster to harness up and take a drive that way. If you have to fool around adjusting every time you want to take a drive you just won’t go, and this is coming from a total horse lover. So I set myself up for success. I had to try 5 different bits before I found one Doodles likes. This is one of the things people overlook, how important bit fit is. ALL equine worry about their mouth.
You can have a wonderful, gentle, good natured animal that turns into a naughty, hard to handle nightmare all because of the wrong bit. Now that I have the right bit, Doodles is quite in the mouth. One sign you can look for from a bad fitting bit is a dry mouth. It can get dry as a bone in there, and that isn’t good. They should be able to calmly lick and chew. If they move their head or shake their head when they lick and chew it’s bad and the wrong bit. Comfortable, happy horses don’t shake their heads around.
I had the same thing happen with my Appaloosa Pongo. When I first got him I could tell he was worried about his mouth. Let me take a second to say both Doodles and Pongo needed dental work done, which I took care of, but that should always be done. I know appaloosas are sensitive by nature so I choose a Myler bit with tongue relief. What a nice change. I don’t promote any one bit, just whatever works for the animal.
So the moral of this story is make double sure your animal is comfortable and you should have great success with any training you need to do.
Have fun and Happy Trails!!